As Batman and Catwoman prepare for their wedding ceremony in July's Batman #50 and #51, most fans are questioning whether the two characters will really get married.
But if these two characters really existed, the question wouldn't just be "will they," but would probably be "should they?" After all, Batman and Catwoman come from very different backgrounds.
Despite their differences, there's still hope according to clinical psychologist Robin S. Rosenberg, who has written several books about the psychology of superheroes (including one focused on Batman's own psyche).
Rosenberg, who currently does couples therapy and 'Next Step Relationship Coaching,' said she's aware that Batman and Catwoman are coming to the relationship from very different perspectives. For example, Batman patrols the street to scare criminals, all motivated by his obsessive determination to prevent what happened to his parents from happening to anyone else. Meanwhile, Catwoman's been portrayed as a near-kleptomaniac, having some trouble keeping her paws off other people's property.
Because of these differences, Rosenberg said the couple might consider pre-marital counseling before tying the knot in the story by Tom King and various artists this summer.
So what advice would Rosenberg give the costumed couple?
"Among my questions to him (and her) would be: What does each of them see as potentially conflicting values, personalities, and aspects of lifestyle?" the psychologist said. "How do they each envision negotiating and managing these conflicts? In what ways does he (and she) look forward to having a marital partner?"
Rosenberg would also ask specifically about the adjustments each partner might have to make in order to maintain their relationship.
"In what ways do each of them think that this commitment - this marriage - will require them to stretch?"
Of course, their differences might not only require changes in lifestyle, but a Bat-Cat marriage is also likely to lead to misunderstandings because of their different perspectives as crime-fighter and criminal. Because Batman sides with heroes and Catwoman has sometimes sided with villains, there might be moral questions that are black and white for Batman but more of a gray area for the Cat.
"I’d advise them not to jump to conclusions about the other, but instead ask questions," Rosenberg said. "Find out where the other person is 'coming from' - what the underlying need or desire is and how else might that need or desire be addressed in other ways.
"In essence, to be curious about each other rather than assume a negative intent."
Another issue that is likely to cause conflict is money, with research showing that financial disagreements can be a predictor of divorce. Catwoman was orphaned at a very young age and struggled most of her life for money. Batman was also an orphan, but he was raised by Alfred Pennyworth as the super-rich Bruce Wayne with almost everything including a mansion.
Rosenberg said her marriage counseling of Batman and Catwoman would include a conversation about finances.
"When they discuss their values with each other, I suggest they discuss what money (and wealth) means to each of them," Rosenberg said. "For instance, for some people money equals love, security, or power. For some people born into wealth, aspects of that wealth can feel like a burden.
"The goal would be to understand each others’ views so that they can support and have compassion for the other person’s perspective," she said.
Another potential point of conflict might arise over the presence in the household of Bruce's long-time father figure, Alfred Pennyworth.
"I suggest that they discuss the ways that Bruce’s relationship with Alfred will or should change so that they can be a 'team' about this," Rosenberg suggested. "The goal is for them to be on the same side, not on opposite sides.
"And of course Alfred should, at some point, be brought in on the conversation," she said.
But for characters like Batman and Catwoman, their biggest problems don't come in the form of everyday issues like dealing with parents or handling money. They have to face much bigger dangers in the form of Gotham City's villains.
Already, as detailed in DC Nation #0 (and solicitations for Batman #48), The Joker intends to give the couple problems before their nuptials even take place.
Rosenberg said the two might actually benefit from being in a relationship when facing those types of problems, and she'd counsel them to lean on each other.
"In the same way that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters can provide unique support to their same-career colleagues, Catwoman and Batman are in a position to really understand the traumas the other is likely to face," she said. "They can support each other, but also be sensitive to when each of them needs a break from being supportive."
Although there's no indication that writer Tom King intends to portray marriage counseling for the couple, Rosenberg said she would recommend they give it a chance. "I hope they come to see me for pre-marital coaching!"